Despite a comprehensive palliative care service operating across the Illawarra and Shoalhaven, there are huge areas of unmet need according to the district's palliative care director Dr Greg Barclay.
The Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District palliative care specialist said there was a massive demand for palliative care services in nursing homes - which would only intensify due to an ageing population.
Dr Barclay supports a statewide campaign, More Funds for Palliative Care, led by Dr Yvonne McMaster.
"Dr McMaster is one of the pioneers in palliative care in Sydney and is very passionate about it," he said.
"With an ageing population, there's certainly a greater need for more funding and additional training for palliative care specialists to cater for increased demand into the future.
"We have a great multi-disciplinary team here in the Illawarra but there's always more we can do.
"And while palliative care used to focus mainly on malignancy, in the last 10 years it has expanded into more non-malignant diseases like advanced dementia and end-stage heart or lung disease."
Dr Barclay said the region's palliative care service featured inpatient units at Port Kembla Hospital (with 14 beds) and David Berry Hospital (nine beds).
There was also community and hospital liaison services as well as outpatient clinics at David Berry Hospital and the Cancer Care Centre in Wollongong.
"Some needs are being met and some aren't - we are always working on ways to improve our services," he said.
"The Shoalhaven is underfunded compared to the Illawarra, and the Illawarra is underfunded compared to Sydney."
Dr Barclay said that included strengthening the allied health team supporting the palliative care physicians and nurses in the Shoalhaven, as well as implementing an after-hours service.
"The Illawarra had no allied health team a couple of years ago but Commonwealth funding has ensured we now have a occupational therapist and physiotherapist and a half-time dietitian and speech therapist," he said.